‘I certify that the patient below is alive’: GPs sick of sick notes
Share article:
Share article:

‘I certify that the patient below is alive’: GPs sick of sick notes

Credit: Belga

An ongoing reliance on the so-called ‘doctor’s note’ has left practitioners in the country inundated with low priority requests, as they are called upon to help people get new wigs, claim they are hurt, or even prove they are alive.

In an op-ed on VRT, several Belgian GPs have signed a letter speaking out against the overwhelming number of doctor’s notes required of them in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, calling for a revamp of the system which sees them taking time away from vital services.

Motivated by the decree that clients with a hair work or wigs can have it replaced or cleaned if they have a prescription from their family doctor, the number of requests for doctor’s notes and prescriptions have skyrocketed, according to the GPs.

“I will not leave my patients who really need me out in the cold, but it is becoming increasingly difficult because of the abundance of unnecessary administration,” wrote Sophie Van Steenbergen, chair of Jong Domus, adding that GPs are already drowning in work due to the coronavirus and catching up on delayed care.

Related News:

 

The requests for doctor’s certificate for wigs or extensions are part of the so-called ‘umbrella certificates’ – to cover organisations against liability claims – are increasing rapidly, with “tragicomic” results, according to Van Steenbergen.

Certificates like “I declare that the patient below has broken her leg and has to use the lift at school”, “I certify that the patient below is alive” (for life insurance) or “I declare that the patient below is medically fit to fish” are not exceptions, she said.

It is “high time” that the authorities clarify and limit the circumstances in which a medical certificate can be demanded from the attending physician, according to the Order of Physicians.

“Since March, we at Jong Domus have been fighting against unnecessary administration (a feat, I can assure you) and last week, a working group was set up with the other doctors’ syndicates BVAS, ASGB and AADM,” said Van Steenbergen.

“Together, we are going for a thorough reform of the administrative burden, so that quality care can continue to come first,” she added.

The Brussels Times

Latest news

Consultative Committee will announce latest measures from 6:30 PM
The Consultative Committee will announce the latest changes to Belgium’s coronavirus restrictions in a press conference at 6:30 PM on Tuesday, ...
Belgium intends to activate the pandemic law, says Health Minister
"We intend to activate the pandemic law," Public Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke confirmed on Tuesday in the House committee, ahead of Tuesday's ...
Offers for fake Covid Safe Tickets circulating on social media
As the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) becomes mandatory in many places across Belgium, offers for forgeries are increasingly circulating on social media. ...
EU auditors: More worried about the future budget than about pervasive errors in the 2020 budget
The European Court of Auditors (ECA) have signed off the 2020 EU accounts as giving a true and fair view of the union’s financial position but like ...
Belgium aims to tackle sexual violence with video interrogations
The federal government is looking to tackle sexual violence and increase convictions connected to this crime by relying more heavily on video ...
Duvel celebrates 150th anniversary with special brew in commemorative bottle
Belgium’s Duvel Moortgat Brewery is celebrating its 150th anniversary with the release of a special brew in a commemorative bottle shaped like its ...
Pollution scandal: 3M to show emissions don’t pose risk or halt production
Flanders has ordered American company 3M, involved in a pollution scandal in Antwerp, to prove that emissions linked to its production activities do ...
The Netherlands fears a greater rise in sea levels than forecast
Sea levels could rise by up to two metres by 2100 on the Dutch coastline – far more than previously forecast – according to an announcement from the ...
The Smurfs return to Belgian TV with the first new show since 1989
A new Smurfs show is bringing the characters of Belgium's second-most-famous comic franchise back to the small screen with their first new series, 30 ...
On this day in Brussels: An entrepreneurial journey begins
The Rue Dansaert was just beginning to become trendy when Alain Coumont opened his first bakery here on 26 October 1990. He started by baking big ...
Almost half of Belgian subsidies from EU left unused
Belgium left almost half (49%) of its subsidies allocated by the European Union between 2013 and 2020 unused, the equivalent of around €1.375 ...
Visitors to embark on Orient Express adventure at Brussels exhibition
An exhibition dedicated to the Orient Express – the train that was the scene for many novels, including Agatha Christie's – allows visitors to ...